Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Another one bites the dust...and a Reflection of Sorts

Last night I was running on the treadmill at my parents house, things were going well until all of the sudden my iPod Shuffle started skipping and making all sorts of weird noises.  Luckily for me I was almost done with my I finished up and figured that plugging it into my computer at home would hopefully solve the problem.  Well I was wrong, so now I've gone through two ipods in the past two months.  Luckily this one (I think) is still under warranty so they should replace it, or fix it...I don't care which I just want to have some music for a LONG flight that I have coming up.  If anyone has an extra iPod shuffle in a drawer that they don't use let me know, I'd be happy to give it a try.

At least I had a good run, I was able to get my hair cut (yes it needed it!), a nice dinner at my parents, and 30 minutes in the sauna at their neighbors house.  My run ended up being 7.5 miles, but it was one of those runs that I could have just kept going, and as I went longer I was feeling stronger.  I guess that's what happens when you start out slow.  Treadmills help me to do that...when I'm outside it doesn't usually happen as much, something I need to get better at.

So unfortunately I have to go to the Apple Store tonight to get my shuffle fixed/replaced...I sure hope they don't give me a hard time about it.  I was able to load some movies from Chad onto my iPad last night so that's definitely a bonus for the trip to Hawaii.  I might need to rip a couple more down and put them on the iPad as well. 

Another swim and a run are on tap for today, I'll hit up a little bit shorter run today though.  I did realize that my treadmill at home is on a huge incline...I don't know why I hadn't thought of it before, but hopefully it will help me.  It can't hurt right?

Yesterday I got an email from Beert which was awesome.  It was simple, "Trained for this for almost 3 years and now it's only 11 days away..." with this attached:

That was an awesome email to get!  I hadn't really looked back upon all of the work and sacrifice that I have put into this crazy dream.  So I started to think, and it's crazy just how much I have put into this.  Then I started to think some's not just me that sacrificed a huge amount there are so many people that helped me get here.  I could go on and on about this, but I'll make it short.  My family for being crazy supportive, coming to watch me race all over the country, watching my dogs when I go away to race or train, ride next to me to give me water on long runs...without them I wouldn't be here!  My friends and training partners, misery loves company and there have been some serious highs and lows through this journey.  When you're out riding 100's of miles through corn fields it's great to have people there willing to suffer with you.  Or when you really don't want to swim because it's freezing outside and the last thing you want to think about is jumping into a cold pool, I can think of no other reason other than the people I'm with to keep me going.  When people believe in you incredible things can happen, and I've truly been fortunate enough to have a lot of people who believe in me...something that's great to know when I head out into the lava fields in 10 days.  Without the whole team I wouldn't be out there!

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Not a Fan of the Rain Right Now...and the Swim Challenge is "Officially"Done

When it comes to the rain I usually don't mind.  Right now though I'm not really a fan of it.  Commuting in the rain is probably the sucks to have to put on wet clothes just to commute home.  And there is no way I'm bringing an extra set to ride home in.  I'll get over it...I would just much rather have the sun...or snow.  I think we're quite a ways away from snow though.

So I've been tapering for a couple of days and I'm already going nuts.  I'm not good at sitting around and doing nothing, I'd rather be up and active.  I know this is what I need, it's just hard to dial things back.  Computrainer this morning was good, I kept things in check and felt like it was a good mix of work without going too hard.  Only one more computrainer session before Kona though.

My swim challenge to hit 60,000 yards is "Officially" complete and I'm currently over that number...but I now have a new number, which I think is pretty attainable too.  It's all about stepping up right, this isn't too crazy, but I definitely think I can step it up.  I'm feeling awesome in the water right now, and my effort seems to be way down to hit certain times.  I'm not going to really increase the effort at this point, but just want to keep the engine going.  This is kind of strange, but I'm enjoying swimming...STRANGE!!!

Monday, September 26, 2011

Raising the Bar

So at the start of this month I had a challenge to swim 60,000 yards, yes for swimmers that's not a lot, and for many triathletes that might be normal.  For me that's not normal, yes there are a lot of things about me that aren't normal, but we won't get into that.  I thought this was an attainable goal and I knew I'd need to swim 2000 yards each day.  Knowing that I would end up missing a few days in the water I would try to make up for them early on in the month.  As it turns out it's September 26th and my yardage tally is at 59,200.  Only 800 yards shy of my goal.  At this rate I can swim for 200 yards a day to meet that goal...but why stop there?  My goal is still 60,000 yards for the month, but I wonder if I can't hit 70,000?

Yes my taper has started, but I can't come completely off of the gas and swimming takes the least out of me (in terms of recovery) so why not keep this rolling.  If I swim 2200 yards a day I'll be able to hit 70,000 yards for the month.  That would shatter my largest month (actually I'm already 5,000 yards above my largest month ever).  The nice thing is that I haven't let the other sports slip either, I'll end up hitting about 1000 miles riding this month and should be within the 120ish miles running which is down a little, but running is where I have the most risk for injury so I wanted to make sure I didn't over do it there.

Hawaii is just around the corner, I'm ready to get out there to have MY race...I'm sure it's going to be tough to do, but for some reason I don't really feel all that much pressure to take a certain "place" in the race.

I've been thinking a lot about next years race calendar.  So far I have one race set in stone...Ironman Wisconsin.  I have a score to settle with that race...looking forward to the journey to get there.  We have a fun group heading up there to race, and I think I have a solid idea of what I want to do in order to prepare for this run at IMWI.  Besides that I don't have all that much sorted out.  A training camp in San Diego in March, hopefully an early season (May) half ironman, and then probably a half per month (June, July, not sure about August), I think I'm even going to throw in a few Xterra races, there is one in Michigan and Indiana that sound kind of fun.

First things first though...Kona.

Friday, September 23, 2011

I have the final piece... my "Top Secret Hawaii Hydration System" or the TSHHS, now I need to put the pieces together and run a little test.  I've found that in the heat there are certain drinks which work well for me, and others that make me resort to drinking coke half way through the bike.  I don't want to use an aerodrink I have devised a plan.  When my plan takes off I'll make millions...haha wishful thinking I suppose. 

Things keep on rolling, and taper time is just about here.  This is real, and I'm ready.  I don't think I've been more ready for an Ironman so I'm excited to see how my race will unfold.  I don't really feel a lot of pressure to "place" well here as I know (unless something miraculous happens) I won't be on the podium.  I can go out there and race within myself.  I have some times kicking around in my head, all of which I truly believe I can do.  It's time to start packing up my gear to make sure I have everything as I usually pack and repack about 6 times.  This weekend will be packing number 1 I suppose.

Oh yea and the swim challenge is rocking...I'm almost to my goal.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011


Last night I dropped off my Ridley Dean to Endure It, it's now on it's way to Kona.  Thanks to Bird for putting on some final touches, and to Chad for his rear Zipp 808 I think I'll be ready to rock.  I still have some work to do and need to stay on the gas a little longer, but the taper is not far away.  Luckily I've been super busy lately, so I haven't had time to get too nervous.  And by busy I've been training a lot, which has been fun.  I am loving training right now, and I think I'm going to miss it a little when the race is over.  But as we all know a break is a good thing!  I'm looking forward to getting some mountain biking, trail running, and cruiser crawling in.

I'm not sure if I'm nervous, or excited or both.  I'm thinking it's both.  My training leading up to this race has been great, and I'm excited to see what happens off of a taper.  My volume has been huge (for me) and I've been super consistent, especially with riding long...something that was missing before CDA.  I feel strong and ready to rock, everything seems to be clicking and it's almost time to do the work out on the course.

The anticipation is definitely building and I can't wait to get out there.  My support crew is awesome, so hopefully I'll make the day as short as possible for them!

Monday, September 19, 2011

The Northface Endurance Challenge Marathon Relay

This past weekend Chad, Erik, David and I took on the marathon relay at the the Northface Endurance Challenge in Kettle Morraine, WI.  This wasn't a road was a trail relay.  Considering I've never really done any "trail" running this was quite the shocker to my system!  Here's how the day went down...

Leg 1 - David took off, headed out into the lead, took a few wrong turns because it was tough to see where you were supposed to go and ended up with one of the fastest times of the day but we were the 3rd place relay team when he returned...he would have easily been winning if he hadn't gone off course.

Leg 2 - Chad's turn to do some damage.  We were about 2 minutes down from the lead, and 40 seconds out of second.  When Chad was done he ran us into 2nd place and put some significant time into the now third place team.

Leg 3 - Bird was off, and had about a 3 minute deficit to a dude who looked like a true trail runner.  This guy had already run the first leg and was familiar with the course, with Bird being color blind we just hoped he would stay on course!  He did an awesome job and kept the first place team within striking distance.

Leg 4 - When I took over the timing chip we were still in 2nd place.  I knew exactly how much time I had to make up, and like the guy Bird was chasing the person in front of me had already run the course once (it was a husband and wife team...their splits were very impressive).  I took off like a bat out of hell because I knew I had to try to catch this team.  Not knowing how hard the trails were to run I decided to try to make up some serious time on the short .75 mile road section leading to the trail.  As I looked down at my Garmin I was reading in the 5:05-5:09 range.  Things felt fine so I stuck with it and decided not to look down any more.  I hit the trail and it was immediately up, so I focused on taking short steps, keeping my HR down and trying to remember that I would run down this hill later so I could make up time then.  At about mile 2.5 I passed the first place team.  Now I would be the one with the target on my back, since there was so much twisting and turning, climbing and descending in the trail I wanted to get out of sight quickly.  So I pushed the next 10 minutes pretty hard, took a look back and 2nd place was no where in sight.  Now it was time to try to break a time I had in my head.  As it turns out I didn't break the time...I was close...but that's alright. 

All in all it was a great day, cool venue, and a fun race.  My quads are still trashed from running hard down hill!  It probably doesn't help that yesterday Chad and I hit up a 5000 yard swim to start the day, which I followed up with a 101 mile trainer ride and a 3 mile run on the treadmill.  Oh yea and 20 minutes in the 140 degree sauna.  The sauna was the hardest part of yesterday!

I'm still pretty sore right now, my Zoot Compression Tights helped last night, and my Zoot Ultra Kalani 2.0's helped me to one of the fastest splits at the race Saturday, I think there was one faster split than me...that guy was haulin!!

Kona is getting close, it's almost time to back off slightly...until then I need to keep getting the work done, sore or not!

Finishing up the relay

This Jeep was at the race, it looks sweet...I want one!

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

23 Days...

In 23 days I'll be racing at the Ironman World Championships on the big island of Hawaii.  I don't know why, but yesterday I started to think about the race quite a bit...I tried to visualize myself out on the course, and as wierd as it sounds I couldn't see myself out there.  I think I'm still in a bit of shock that I'm going to be racing would think this shock would have worn off by now but I guess it hasn't.  I'm having a tough time wrapping my brain around the idea of racing in the largest venue the sport has to offer.  All sorts of thoughts run through my head, good thoughts, thoughts of doubt...everything.

I feel like I'm in better shape now than I have ever been leading up to an Ironman race.  I have more long rides than I have ever had before.  My swimming is coming around and I'm hitting consistently faster times in trainining, and I've been smarter about my running not worrying about the pace every single run.  I have been able to elevate my pace as runs go on which is good.  I really need to start picturing myself there, I belong there, I've done the work and I'm ready to enjoy the day.

I don't know what to expect when I get there, I know the heat can be brutal, and can cripple people.  I also know that the people there are the best in the world.  So my typical "I'll ride away from people" attitude has to change, and I need to stay within myself.  I'm excited, scared, nervous...and ready to go.  I have a few more big workouts planned, really just to keep things sharp.  I'm reading about the pro's who are already heading out there...the hype is building.  I can't wait to see how this plays out.  I really don't have too many expectations and want to enjoy the experience.

Friday, September 9, 2011

Bring the Heat!

Ironman Hawaii is rapidly approaching so it's about time for the unofficial freak out to begin.  The "official" freak out will probably happen two weeks out and build in strength until race day.  I continue to hear about how hot it is in Kona, and with the temperatures around Chicago dropping, my tan fading and daylight dwindling it's time to make some of my own heat I suppose.  So I've started to ride on the computrainer with no's nasty let me tell you...I've also started to run on the treadmill while wearing a sweatshirt and with a space heater blowing in my face.  An athlete that has done Kona compared the heat to trying to workout with a blow dryer on high in your face the entire time.  Hence the space heater in my face (well off to the right side a bit...I need to be able to see the TV when I'm running or I'd go completely mad).  I think it's time to throw in another space heater on the left side.  I know I'm strange but I like things to be even, I mean what happens when the right side of my body can handle heat but the left can't?  Just kidding of course, but I would like it to get a little bit warmer when I'm running.  I've been handling the heat pretty well, and haven't tried to do crazy intensity, honestly I don't think the treadmill could handle it.

On a separate note my blender crapped out on me last night.  I'm kind of glad it did to tell you the truth for a couple of reasons.  The most important of which is now I have a reason to get a Vitamix right?  I've wanted one, but couldn't justify it when I had a blender which worked perfectly that I don't maybe it's time to invest in one, or even better maybe someone wants to just send one to me.  I don't think I'll hold my breath on that one though.

Looking forward to this weekend for sure, nothing like training on an Ironman course, watching an Ironman and then starting to prepare for a HUGE goal ahead.  Good luck to the Endure It crew (and everyone else) racing at Ironman Wisconsin this Sunday, Rev3 Cedar Point (Dana and Julie...Dana you better lay the hurt down that guy), and to all of my Zoot teammates racing the Ironman 70.3 World Championships in Vegas.  One special shout out, if you're looking for someone to follow who is going to do some major damage at Ironman Wisconsin this Sunday check out Matt Ancona!  The dude has been killing it in training and is going to do some severe damage to the field on Sunday.  I'm not going to be surprised when he's up there competing for the amateur overall win, and leaving pro's in his dust!

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

I Got Owned!!!!!

So yesterday my ego took a major hit.  Before I get into the story you should probably get a little of the background.  Training has been going well, I've been getting my long rides in, my long run will take place tomorrow morning and I've been swimming a lot (for me that is)...I've been in the water 9 straight days now.  I know that there are days I won't be able to swim, this coming Sunday will probably be one of them, so I'm trying to take advantage of the time that I do get in the water.  Anyway back story...Sunday was a huge training day.  7 hours total, it started with 3500 yards in the water, followed by 102 on the bike and finished with 6 on the treadmill.  I was about 65-70 miles into my ride (out of water but close to a place to refill) when I saw another rider go by me the other way decked out in a Garmin-Cervelo kit.  Typically I would think nothing of this because most people that I see wearing kits like this are complete posers and you can tell by the way they look when they're riding.  This was not the case I decided to turn around and see who it was.  As I suspected I ended up catching up to Christian Vande Velde, I didn't want to be that guy to sit on his wheel and take a free ride without saying anything, so I pulled up next to him and introduced myself.  Like I said I didn't want to be "that guy" but we kept on talking and ended up riding together for quite a while.  He's a super chill guy!!  He was finishing up his ride and I was turning off (to go get that water that I had been without now for about 20 miles) and he asked if I wanted to ride Monday.  How do you pass that up right?  So I finished up my ride, jumped on the treadmill for a quick 6 miles while watching the Hy-Vee race on the internet and called it a day in terms of training.  That is by far my largest volume training day thus far.

So yesterday we met up to ride.  I wasn't sure what to expect, but figured I'd be in some pain at some point or another.  The first two hours cruised by (we had an awesome tailwind) right about then he decided to do some "work".  Yep he sure did go to work.  I did everything I could to sit on his wheel as he pulled us going over 24 mph into a nasty head wind.  That pretty much summed up the rest of the for him...extreme pain for me!  Needless to say I got worked pretty bad, and that was the hardest 80 miles I have ever ridden!!  Totally worth it though, I was able to get out onto some new roads, and rode with a Pro Tour Rider...which was awesome.

Yep I'm still sore today, and think I will be for a few days.  I did get on and spun my legs for 20 miles this morning, and hit up the pool again for 3100 today.  This 60,000 yard swim challenge is going well, and I'm slightly ahead of the game right now which is good.  I'm feeling better in the water, I just need to make sure I continue to push myself there and not get comfortable.  A little treadmill run tonight and I'll call it a day.

Friday, September 2, 2011

Crazy Thoughts...

I typically do my best thinking in the shower.  While I was swimming today I started thinking...I mean what else is there to do when you're looking at the same black line on the ground for 25 yards at a time right?  Sometime during my swim set I started thinking about future goals...that's when the craziness began.  All I'll say is "Go big or go home!!"

The swim challenge is rolling along well, I even got a little ahead today.  5300 yards down and 54,700 to go.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

September 1 - 36 Days Left

It's crazy that September is already here!  Only 36 days until the Ironman World Championships, and I have to admit that I'm feeling better than I usually feel this close to an Ironman race.  I know I have put in a lot of work so far, just a few more long rides, long runs and a lot of swimming. 

The nice thing is that I don't feel any pressure on where I place in this race.  I truly feel like it's a race against myself.  I know what I'm capable of, and I can do my own thing on the race course.  I don't have to respond to other peoples surges, or try to catch x number of people.  I get to go out there and do something I love to do.  It's kind of sick isn't it?  I mean who pays money to go and exercise for 9+ hours?

I can tell that it's getting closer to race day as my belt has to be tightened a little bit more, I'll try to limit myself to one bowl of ice cream...every other day.  The heat acclimatization will start here next week...not looking forward to that.  I rode the computrainer today without the fan on, wow, that was brutally hot.  I guess I need to get used to it though. 

Train Smart, Race Hard, No Regrets!!